Sea of Sameness: Latin America

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

In this series about the Sea of Sameness in Corporate and Employer Branding, we explore how this plays out in Latin America.

Welcome our Special Guest, Gabriela Torres.

Listen to the podcast here.

Connect with Gabriella via LinkedIn here.

HEATHER: Hello, Welcome to HeatherP Solutions, POV podcast series. This is the fourth episode where we will be discussing the implications of the sea of sameness, but hold on your seat belts .... this time in Latin America and how it relates to American companies. This episode is based on research done with big companies in Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, and Brazil. Is there a sea of sameness in Latin America? And is it similar to the one in the United States? I'm Heather P and I'm here with my guest, Gabriela Torres. Gabriela is a corporate communications and digital marketing professional, and she started working in employer branding fairly recently and is currently working to showcase its importance and impact to both local and global organizations in Ecuador, as well as other markets in Latin America, through content creation and a company's internal and external audiences. Welcome Gabriela.

GABRIELA: Heather, thanks for having me on the podcast.

HEATHER: I'm really excited. I am so excited to have you on this. So in our last episode, um, we covered the sea of sameness and the implications for employee experience this time, we'll also be talking about COVID-19 and how it's being portrayed on career websites in the U S and Latin America. The industries we analyzed are consumer foods, finance and healthcare, and here in the U S in those industries, COVID is a primary message on the homepage of most of the corporate websites. Additionally, it is a frequent topic in social media posts, though, less so than what we saw a few months ago in Edelman's trust factor report. We see the expectations of consumers with brands to do the right thing, to put people over profits and maintain a high level of trust, all important aspects for brands to consider in these industries and reminder those industries, consumer foods, finance, and healthcare.

Additionally, we see that consumers are trusting brands more than they're trusting or government officials, which is both a big responsibility and a big opportunity for brands when it comes to communicating about COVID. So I'm curious, Gabriela, what can you share about COVID communications from big brands and LATAM?

GABRIELA: Thanks, Heather for that introduction. I can say that what we found out in our research from the country from Latin America, that we analyzed is that COVID and COVID related topics are not being communicated properly first on an employer brand level through career sites, or even on a corporate brand Level in their main websites or talking about it or mentioning it at all. And while around 50% of them do mention it, I think only 25% provide consistent and strategic information for their stakeholders.

HEATHER: And let's remember, these are big companies, not your regular medium or small businesses. So this is a bit alarming.

GABRIELA: Yeah. Not a single company of these ones mentioned the impact of COVIDT in hiring or recruitment. And when employees are mentioned is in relation to how the client or consumer could be affected. Finally, some countries are truly affected by the situation and the communication level people would be expecting from them, from the companies as candidates, or even as consumers are not being met properly at all. In my opinion.

HEATHER: Yeah, that is so interesting. Now, to put this in perspective, you gathered this data up until the end of June of this year. So we're talking about a pretty hefty amount of time where companies since March had time to prepare and come up with a communication strategy that was more solid than, than what you're saying.

GABRIELA: Absolutely. Maybe since we're a long way from this to be over, there's still a chance for them to turn this around. Hopefully.

HEATHER: Yeah, totally good Call out. You're correct. It's never too late. Now. Let's dive into our main topic about the sea of sameness. Now, as a refresher, In the US, we are seeing a sea of sameness by industry in the fortune 500 where the same key themes are being called out and leading to muddy distinctions between brands, both corporate brands and employer brands within an industry of the fortune 500. So we're curious, is this a US thing or a broader, more global trend in the sea of sameness? So Gabriela what's happening in Latin America, as it relates to the sea of sameness in employer and corporate branding,

GABRIELA: I think similar to the U S between industries, you can't differentiate one company from another, but what is actually worse in Latin America, you cannot differentiate a company from one industry to another that belongs to a totally different industry. Many of the topics and even tone and nuances used for communications by these companies are so similar that almost none of them stand out at all. Also for some organizations, a lot of the time, the information is so standard and broad that you can distinguish what the business does, what its focuses or how employees can support that vision among other things.

HEATHER: Wow, how confusing for both customers and talent. Now you even found examples, large holding companies, own businesses across sectors. And while the businesses may have websites to communicate the specific information related to that business, the holding company aren't really leveraging the opportunity to showcase individual companies or their strengths. And also most of the companies are focusing on talking about their organizational capabilities, which let's face. It are impressive because they all are big companies, but not about what makes them unique or has them stand out from the others. How could talent really discern the values, culture, or work experience to be able to make informed choices about where to create their next step in their career?

GABRIELA: I think what you're mentioning is the main problem in the region, collaborating, reading most websites as a candidate, or even as a consumer of that specific, those specific brands, you don't really learn anything new or stay with anything relevant information from these brands or these corporate brands or employer brands there's no differentiation at all.

HEATHER: Yeah. We noticed that as well. For example, statements like we're the best. It was used 80% of the time by companies, although they don't specify the best in which area or how they reached that conclusion. So apparently they're the best in either absolutely everything or nothing they're going to tell us about, but that doesn't tell people anything of value, really, whether it's for the consumer or the employer brands.

GABRIELA: Yes. I agree with that, especially for employer brands. What surprised me is that these companies in Latin America belong to big us companies that have really strong employer brands in the U S but this reality doesn't reflect in Latin American countries, the core messages of the brand fade away and everything from design to information is not presented properly. And consequently, we can assume that they don't have candidates in their minds while they're building their career websites in Latin America.

And what we saw in these career sites is a lot of general information focused on telling people how great the company is the best though, not in what and what they want from candidates, rather than telling them what makes the organization a good employer, what kind of people they need, or even focusing on what the candidate wants to know. And that's when there is information there, because most of the time we just find a list of available rules, a form, or a contact email, and nothing more. And that brings us to the next call-out. We found a lot of opportunities for improvement, where US-based global companies were operating Latin America and, um, opportunities they're making with respect to their employer brands.

HEATHER: What are some of the biggest opportunities that you saw?

GABRIELA: The majority of companies redirect a candidate at some point to the U S global career page of the company, which would not be totally bad if they didn't have all the information in English? I would believe for that for some roles speaking fluent English is absolutely necessary, but not for most of them. And therefore candidates won't have the capacity to read and understand truly the information.

Even if people understand what they're being presented with, there's no relevant information on the country and the context they be workin